Panel told more beds needed as new parole rules fill jails

LITTLE ROCK (Arkansas News Bureau) - The state Board of Corrections was told Monday that increasing numbers of parolees are being locked up across the state because of recent policy changes and that more prison beds are needed to accommodate the influx.

Board Chairman Benny Magness said the number of state inmates being held in county jails had swelled to 1,400 Monday, including about 500 parolees being held for revocation hearings.

State Prison Director Ray Hobbs told the board nearly 300 beds in state facilities across the state ready for use, but that it would cost $8 million to hire employees and operate the facilities.

The board took no action Monday. Magness said later he expects the overcrowding issue to be back on the board's September agenda.

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